Japanese Design Archive Survey


University, Museum & Organization

Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design


Date: 8 July 2019 12:00 - 14:30
Location: Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design
Interviewees: Toshiki Kiriyama (Deputy Director, Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design)
Hiroko Inazuka (Curator, Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design)
Interviewers: Yasuko Seki and Akiko Wakui
Author: Yasuko Seki



Re-opened in 2017, the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design is Japan's first 'art and design' museum of its kind. Its predecessor, the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama opened in 1981. This coincides with the 1980s, when the Japanese, now well fed and clothed, finally turned their attention to the design of their living environment and lifestyle, and began to emphasise diversity. The first director of the museum, Mr. Masataka Ogawa, was originally an art reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, and in his journalism he regarded "design" as a cultural activity, like art and music, and had friendships with designers and architects. Although limited to posters and chairs from the 20th century onwards, the museum boasts one of the best design collections in Japan and has laid the foundations for the current museum, which advocates 'art and design'. However, as a public museum, it is still in search of a way to embody 'art and design'. In a museum system built around art, there are probably barriers to be overcome before 'design' can be established as an area of its own. In particular, the formation of a design archive in a museum must begin with a basic collection and the creation of data, which is the entry point for the development of the archive. It seems that all museums, not only the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, are struggling to cope with the demands of running a busy museum.
In this issue, we asked Mr. Toshiki Kiriyama, who was appointed deputy director of the museum in recognition of his many years of experience as a design director, and Ms. Hiroko Inazuka, deputy curator, about the position of "design" in the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design and the potential of its archives.



富山県美術館 作品

Interview 1

Interview 01

Toshiki Kiriyama (Deputy Director, Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design)



The question of this century is how well we can organise and systematise the legacy of the 20th century.

Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design and Design

  I saw some high school students earlier, were they on a tour of the museum?


Kiriyama Toyama Prefecture is one of the most educated prefectures in Japan and the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design and Design, which was originally built on the site of a children's park, focuses on programmes for children and schoolchildren. We also have an internship scheme for junior and senior high school students, who learn about museum management as interns.


 It's a good project to feel the museum's presence up close. Now, the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design and Design opened in 2017 as a modern art museum that celebrates 'art & design'. Mr. Kiriyama, who has worked for many years as a design director, setting up numerous design exhibitions and events both in Japan and abroad, has been appointed as Deputy Director, and I think there are high expectations in the design world. So today I would like to talk to you about the design museum and the design archive from the point of view of the Deputy Director.


Kiriyama We recognise that archiving is a very important part of museum activities. As a public art museum, we have a large collection of records and materials relating to artworks and artists, the background to their work, and their relationship with the times and society. In practice, however, it has been extremely difficult to achieve this. We have about ten curators, but we hold five or six exhibitions a year, as well as educational programmes and workshops for children, so we don't have enough time to maintain the archive. The museum has welcomed over 2 million visitors since it opened and I feel that it is taking root in the local community, but there is so much work to be done. We are now in our second year of operation and the overall framework of the museum is being finalised, but I would like to think about the design exhibitions and programmes.


 The whole Hokuriku area has the potential to become the centre of the art area, including Kanazawa. In 2020, the National Museum of Modern Art's Crafts Museum will move to Kanazawa, what are your thoughts on this?


Kiriyama Indeed, there is the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and the National Crafts Museum will open in July next year. The three prefectures of Hokuriku also have thriving local industries and traditional crafts, making them the most productive region in Japan for crafts. We hope to establish ourselves both domestically and internationally.


 This is the first public art museum in Japan to claim to be an "art and design" museum, what do you think of design museums in Japan?


Kiriyama When it comes to a design museum in Japan, I have high hopes for the activities of "Let's create a design museum in Japan", which was founded by Mr. Issey Miyake and Mr. Masanori Aoyagi. I heard that after a brief hiatus, Design- DESIGN MUSEUM was recently established with new members and has started to hold symposiums and other activities mainly for young creators. In any case, at the current pace, ten or twenty years will pass in a flash, and in that time many of the works and records of the first and second generation of post-war designers and architects, now in their eighties and seventies, may be lost. I think we are facing a major crisis.


 We have interviewed many first and second generation people about their own archives. Some people have given up, while others have organised their work and materials in their own way. However, they say that they would like to donate them somewhere, but there is no one who will take them. Is it difficult for a public museum to become a recipient?


Kiriyama I have been asked for such advice. However, it is difficult to accept them unless you have the right storage space, costs and personnel. The first priority is to secure a storage facility for the collection. Subsequently, there are many issues to be addressed, such as how to store the objects in the collection, the storage environment, and the production of records and data. In the future it may be possible to digitise everything and simplify the process, but the reality is that it will take four or five years just to digitise the 18,000 hand-drawn items in the museum's collection. This work cannot be outsourced, as it has to be done by the curator for administrative purposes, and it would be difficult to hire more staff dedicated to the archive. Public museums are funded by taxpayers' money, so it is not possible to have a collection of all the best works. In the case of the Museum, a review of donated works takes place once a year, and decisions on the acceptance of works are made on the basis of fairness.


 How many donations do you receive annually?


Kiriyama It's not easy to say either. As well as the value of the donated work, it is important to consider whether it fits in with the context of the museum's activities, whether it complements the existing collection and whether it should be kept in the collection for the future. It is not easy to accept a work because it is expensive or because it is by a famous artist. On the other hand, if we were talking about mere "storage" without the need for a storehouse, things might be different.


 Now that you have a better understanding of the situation, what are your thoughts on how to take the current situation one step further?


Kiriyama If there was a public, professional third party organisation for design collections and design archives, we might be able to talk a bit more. For example, if there is a public body in charge of design policy such as the Design Council in the UK, then the issue of design archives can be addressed not on an individual level, but in the context of a national cultural administration system. It would be nice to have such a neutral organisation and system.


 Since the beginning of this research, I have asked both designers and museums and design institutions about their archives, and I feel that in Japan the concept of "collection" and "archive" is also ambiguous. In this sense, I have the impression that Japan has accumulated a considerable collection of works of art, but has not yet developed its archive. However, from the point of view of "culture", it is not only the work as a finished product, but also the archive, the record of its background, that is valuable. If this is left to individuals or private organisations, there is no way of knowing when it will be lost or scattered.


Kiriyama That's right. In the case of the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, we already have a collection of about 16,500 paintings, sculptures, designs, crafts and architecture. However, having a collection means that there are many tasks and responsibilities, such as creating data about the collection, organising exhibitions and workshops using the collection, and lending out works.


 What are the specific works in your collection?


Kiriyama The museum has one of the most extensive collections of any public museum in the region. The first director of the museum, Mr. Masataka Ogawa, started buying artworks and today the museum has a large collection of modern art from the 20th century onwards, including paintings by Picasso, Duchamp, Matisse, Kandinsky, Pollock, Stella and Warhol, sculptures by Marini and Giacometti, and Japanese artists such as Shiko Munakata, Taro Okamoto, Tadanori Yokoo, Shinro Ohtake and Hiroshi Senju. In a time when the price of art is soaring, it is largely due to the foresight of the museum's former director, Mr. Ogawa, that the museum is able to hold so many works. In the future it will not be possible for local museums to purchase works of art costing several hundred million yen each, and it will be difficult for museums to buy works of art to house them. There is also a collection of Shuzo Takiguchi, an art critic from Toyama, and a design collection of posters and chairs from the 20th century. You will hear more about the design collection later from curator Ms. Hiroko Inazuka.


"art & design" in museums.

 Now I would like to ask you about the "art & design" part.


Kiriyama I think that as a museum we can complement each other with art and design, but I don't think we need to force them together. This is because, at a time when art and design are expanding their domains and concepts, it should be possible to show "art & design" in a natural way.


 You are the Deputy Director of the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design and also the Director of the Toyama Design Center, do you have any specific plans for "art & design"?


Kiriyama Recently, with the agreement of the Governor of Toyama Prefecture, we have expanded the functions of the Toyama Design Center. In particular, we have created a new Creative Design Hub, a design studio and a virtual studio. Toyama Prefecture is home to many manufacturing industries and local industries, but design should not end with the production of products, as it has done in the past, but should also contribute to future lifestyles and uncover new ways of making things by actively introducing IT and AI.


 Has it worked for you?


Kiriyama 「In terms of "art & design", despite being a Design Center, we are approached to restore a "national treasure". In other words, the 3D scanner in the Virtual Lab reads the shape of the National Treasure, and the 3D printer uses the data to create a prototype, which can then be used to make a mold and cast metal to reproduce it exactly as it was. At the same time, even if there are no drawings from the time of production, the accurate data can be preserved for posterity as an archive of national treasures, which is a major contribution of modern digital design methods. The Design Center is also experimenting with the use of augmented reality (AR) to develop systems that can significantly improve the efficiency of product manufacturing in order to increase international competitiveness.


  Is digitisation a good way to maintain a design archive?


Kiriyama In fact, just transferring the vast amount of artworks and information in the museum to digital data is a huge task and will take a reasonable amount of time to complete. As far as design archives are concerned, the taxation system in Japan's cultural administration is a major challenge: models and models of products are capitalised and subject to taxation, so they cannot be left behind. Even major manufacturers dispose of them every few years. Even the most elaborate models of cars are disposed of every few years. It's the same with architectural models. For me personally, it would be nice to have a gallery where we can store the under constructions before the design archive of course. In that case, you need a big space like a gymnasium anyway.


  Listening to you, I realised that the museum we see every day is just the tip of the iceberg, underneath which lies a huge mass of collections, archives and research. But in the current situation in Japan, it is very difficult to keep even the tip of that iceberg.


Kiriyama If we think about it, everything happened in the 20th century all over the world, and what was created there is now being thrown out. I think the question for this century is how well we can organise and systematise them. As a cultural administration, it is important to know how to bring together and record the wisdom of mankind and how to make the best use of it, and I think it is time to re-examine the role of museums in this context.


 From your point of view, what is the difference between art and design archives?


Kiriyama What is clear is that at the moment we cannot talk about art and design on the same axis.


 For example, design is largely described as a "work of art" and a "product", but what is the difference between the two?


Kiriyama Probably, from the point of view of a designer's work, there is a big division between mass production and private work. Mass-production is an industry, so it's a product, but for the private sector it's often a one-off or limited edition item, and such designs are called "works of art". I think that the most successful designer of all time in my opinion, the Italian designer Ettore Sottsass has been the most successful in combining mass production and private life. He has worked for mass-producers such as Olivetti, but has also designed a number of architectural and limited edition pieces such as Memphis.


  Is it Mr. Shiro Kuramata, who was a close friend of Sottsass in Japan?


Kiriyama We have a collection of chairs in our museum, including Mr. Kuramata's "Miss Blanche". Mr. Kuramata's product designs, such as chairs and lighting fixtures, as well as her interior designs for shops and other places are very attractive, but it would be very difficult for a museum to hold them. This is because Mr. Kuramata's interiors are, in a sense, like a tea-ceremony room in another dimension, and it is difficult to realise the full extent of this worldview in a museum setting. It seems that M+ in Hong Kong has bought the whole sushi restaurant "Kiyotomo" and is going to recreate it, but there should be a Shiro Kuramata museum.


 In terms of "art & design", what do you think of what designers are doing these days?


Kiriyama There are a lot of young designers who combine mass-production and private design, that is, industrial design and artistic design. They are able to present their designs on a global scale, using two different venues: the Salone del Mobile for industrial design and the Fuori Salone (Milan Design Week) for artistic design. Mr. Kuramata was not able to enter the world of mass-production as a result, and I feel that he suffered from this. In the case of design, there is often a saying that you sell your soul to the client, but I think that this has changed recently and many designers are working with a firm line between the two. Either way, art and design are changing dramatically, and we believe that our activities towards museums, collections and the treatment of archives must increase in the future.


 Thank you very much for your time today.





Interview 2

Interview 02

Hiroko Inazuka (Curator, Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design)



The power of the works and materials in the collection as objects.
It is important to see how it is put to use.

About the Design Collection

 In the design world, the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design is notable as the first public art museum in Japan to be dedicated to "art & design". The museum is famous for its collection of posters and chairs, what is the background to this?


Inazuka The Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, the predecessor of the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, opened in 1981. The aim of the museum is to create a collection that gives an overview of art from the 20th century to the present day, from the perspective of the world, Japan and Toyama. At the same time, from the beginning of the museum's history, design has been at the heart of the museum's activities, as much as painting, sculpture and other forms of art. The idea was to create a collection of "posters" that would represent graphic design and that would be systematic, easy to read and accessible to all. At the same time, we commissioned Mr. Kazumasa Nagai to design the opening poster and the exhibition posters from the beginning of the museum. I think it was a breakthrough for a regional museum. In 2017, the building of the museum was changed and the design of the exhibition posters was handed down from Mr. Nagai to a new generation, but the symbol of the newly relocated Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, was designed by him and his ideas and principles have been carried on to this day.


 Will that collection of posters lead to the International Poster Triennial in Toyama?


Inazuka In 1982, the year after the museum opened, we held an exhibition entitled "Contemporary Japanese Posters". For the exhibition, 20 designers, including Mr. Yusaku Kamekura, one of Japan's leading designers at the time, each contributed 20 posters, which were donated to the museum after the exhibition. These 400 posters form the core of our poster collection. This connection led to the idea of an international poster exhibition in Japan. With the support of Mr. Kamekura, Mr. Ikko Tanaka, Mr. Shigeo Fukuda and Mr. Nagai, the International Poster Triennial in Toyama (IPT) has been held every three years since 1985. At the time of the first exhibition, Japanese graphic designers were beginning to attract international attention by winning prizes at poster exhibitions around the world, and the collection has now grown with entries from all over the world aiming to be awarded or selected by Toyama.


  I understand that the enthusiasm of the people who were involved in the founding of the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, as well as the designers who were at the forefront of their field at the time, such as Mr. Kamekura and Mr. Tanaka, had a strong influence on the project.


Inazuka I think so. I think there were more people who were centripetal and driving forces in the design culture then than there are now.


 The IPT must have inherited it for more than 30 years and the poster collection must be quite large.


Inazuka The collection currently comprises around 14,000 items. At each IPT, we add to our collection the prize-winning and selected works, as well as the juried exhibits. Donations have also been received from design organisations and designers closely associated with the museum's activities. It is a valuable collection that allows us to observe not only the trends in graphic design, but also the zeitgeist, the social and the regional. In today's increasingly digitalised world, the value and presence of these objects should not be overlooked.


 How is it stored?


Inazuka In the storeroom, the museum's poster collection, including posters from the IPT, is divided into sections according to the year of the IPT and the way in which the posters were received, such as by individual designers or organisations donating them in bulk, and then according to their approximate size.


 What was the inspiration for the other "chair" collection?


Inazuka The current collection of 20th Century Chairs began in the early 1990s, but even before that, the Museum had acquired chairs from exhibitions such as the 1985 exhibition ' A Panorama of Contemporary Art in Japan-Design of Daily Life'. Now that the foundations of a poster collection of two-dimensional (2D) design had been laid, there was talk of adding something to represent three-dimensional (3D) design. The reason why it has become a chair is that it is a design item that offers a bird's-eye view of the 20th century and the present from various angles, such as in relation to products, architecture and art of the same period. For example, Rietveld's "Red and Blue" chair is included in the collection because it is a work of art, has architectural elements, and can be placed in the history of 20th century art because of its connection with Mondrian's paintings. At the start of the collection, we learned from previous collections, such as the work of Prof. Makoto Shimazaki, who has been instrumental in the formation of the collection of mass-produced chairs at Musashino Art University.


 Is there a reason why you chose to call it a "20th century chair"?


Inazuka This is of course parallel to the fact that the museum's art collection covers the period from the 20th century to the present day, but it also means that we can target current products designed for mass production, rather than buying one-offs or prototypes at auction. There are several criteria for a current product, such as the fact that it has inherited an original design, or that it throws up new proposals for people's lives. As for the current collection, only some of the chairs are available in two pieces, one for display and the other for visitors to sit on. We thought it would be better for visitors to see the chair as a sculptural object and to be able to actually sit on it. At present we have a collection of about 190 different chairs.


 Do you have specific criteria for your collections?


Inazuka The basic idea is to create a chair that represents the history of design in the 20th century and that is still in mass production today, in keeping with the original design. We are currently mapping and balancing our collection with iconic chairs from the period, from Thonet to Mackintosh, Rietveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sori Yanagi's 'Butterfly Stool' and current artists Motomi Kawakami and Jasper Morrison. In terms of mass production, Shiro Kuramata's "Luminous Chair" and "Miss Blanche" may be unique, but they are essential as important works that continue to have a significant impact on the design field and on the connection with art of the same period.


 When you think about the future, is there a possibility of archiving the work and materials of one designer, for example Mr. Yusaku Kamekura?


Inazuka We have a number of posters by Mr. Kazumasa Nagai and other graphic designers who have had strong links with the IPT and other activities of the museum, but we do not have a comprehensive collection of posters by any one creator at the moment. We believe that a museum is a place where artworks and materials are preserved and passed on to future generations, and where collections and exhibition activities are at the heart of the museum's activities, but also open to the public in a way that expands its branches and leaves. So, while we are well aware of the importance of the archive, I think it is more important to look at the possibilities of how it can be used in the future.
In some cases, such as Mr. Yusaku Kamekura, who donated his work to the Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art in his hometown, the museum has a collection of art from the 20th century to the present day, and in terms of design, there is an axis of posters and chairs. As for the question of archiving specific creators, I think that depends on the policy of the collection and exhibition activities of each institution.


 Toyama Prefecture is also home to local industry and traditional crafts. Next year, the National Museum of Modern Art will open a new National Crafts Museum in Kanazawa, what do you think about "craft"?


Inazuka The Toyama Prefectural Government has a number of cultural institutions, including the Suiboku Museum, the Koshinokuni Museum of Literature and the Tateyama Museum, each of which has its own area and role to play. The Takaoka Art Museum in Takaoka City in the western part of the prefecture has a much longer and more systematic collection and display of locally inherited traditional crafts, particularly copperware and lacquerware, than the museum. In this context, and in a time when the boundaries between craft, art, design and craft are hard to draw, it is difficult for me personally to answer how the museum sees 'craft'.


 It's true that the realm of creation, not just design, is collapsing.


Inazuka In my own fragmented opinion, the key to the difference between art, design, craft and crafts is the emphasis placed on expression or materials. Particularly in the case of craft and handicraft, I think it depends on whether the focus is on empathy with the material or on the awareness of the continuity of tradition. The exhibition of works made using craft methods and materials in art exhibitions has the potential to offer a new way of looking at things, but at the same time it is necessary to be cautious when the boundaries between these areas are blurred. The establishment of a national craft museum in Kanazawa is a great move, but I personally think it is more important for museums and institutions with different roles to connect with each other.


About the Design Archive

 Earlier, Mr. Kiriyama, the deputy director of the museum, told me that it is difficult to make progress in the creation of databases and other archive-related work. I understand that the current poster collection contains posters in printed form, but what do you think about archiving the background material for your work?


Inazuka The IPT is an international, open call for entries, so the situation varies from country to country. It is impossible to cover all the works and artists, and I think it is more important for a collection to convey a fixed point of view of the poster as a form of expression and the power of graphics as an object. For example, the "Ikko Tanaka Archive" of the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion, run by Dai Nippon Printing Co.,Ltd., has researched printing techniques and processes of the time, to the point of being able to reproduce them in print. The usefulness of an archive depends on how the objects and information that form it are envisaged to be used in the future, within the context of its content and the nature of its facilities.


 So what about creating digital data about your poster collection and making it available as an archive? Also, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa has a full-time archivist, does this museum have one?


Inazuka I think that the curator should be the one who prepares the data, because it is based on the actual work, and it cannot be outsourced. However, it would be very helpful to have an archivist who is a professional in the sense of editing the data by the curator in a secondary way and connecting the data with the users.
As for the digital data, I have been working on the format for about two years in parallel with the planning of the exhibition, but the hardware is a barrier. As a trial, I scanned some of the posters into digital images and used Excel to digitise the required information, such as the name of the work, author and date, but when I updated my Windows operating system, the system stopped working.


 Every museum seems to feel a great burden in terms of technical requirements, costs and human labour to update digital data, as pointed out by Ms. Inazuka.


Inazuka Sometimes, after all the hard work of data entry, the simplest Excel and scanned digital images are the most effective in the end. For example, these were put to good use when we edited the data for the poster touch panel, a mechanism for presenting 3,500 posters from the poster collection to visitors.
Digital data is convenient, but it is also dangerous. I can't imagine leaving it in positive form now, but it would be dangerous to consolidate it only on disc. The slightest thing can corrupt the data or prevent it from booting depending on the system. Even if positive film has deteriorated slightly, it can still be reproduced using digital technology. I guess we are in a transitional period now. I once spoke to a curator in the Netherlands who specialises in graphic design, and when I asked her about the move to digital he said that she didn't know what the future held and that they were still exploring.


 In Japan today, each museum is still searching for a design archive, and the format of the archive seems to be different. I think there is a certain common format for art, but what about design?


Inazuka In fact, it can be difficult to settle on a common format for design because of the variety of items that need to be covered. The posters and chairs we have in the museum are simple, and even in the field of product design, individual artists such as Mr. Motomi Kawakami and Mr. Toshiyuki Kita are still easy to understand. In the case of an iconic product such as the Sony WALKMAN, for example, the design, the materials and technology, the impact on our daily lives - depending on your point of view, we may need to take a museological rather than an art exhibition approach. Design can be categorised in many different ways depending on its origins and the perspective from which it is perceived, so it is difficult to create a common format.


 That's right. Some designs, such as posters and chairs, can be traced back to a designer, but industrial design, such as cars and electronics, is very much manufacturer-driven, with a preponderance of company names, materials and technologies. By the way, there are many museums that deal with posters, but what about in terms of archiving?


Inazuka Among posters, there are collections that focus on works of historical and art historical value, such as the Utsunomiya Museum of Art and the forthcoming Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka; there are organisations that communicate with designers and collect their works, such as the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion and our museum; and there are archives of works and materials by individual creators, such as Mr. Yusaku Kamekura and Mr. Kiyoshi Awazu, such as the Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. The archive will be different. By the way, I would like to ask you the opposite question: do companies and other organizations form design archives for their products?


 As far as our research has shown, only a small number of companies are systematically working on their own design archives. However, there are some interesting developments in the industrial design archive. For example, the aforementioned Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka has set up the Industrial Design Archives Project (IDAP), led by Panasonic and Kyoto Institute of Technology. Osaka has always been a town of home appliances, with companies such as Matsushita Electric Industrial (now Panasonic), SHARP and Zojirushi Mahobin, so we have started a design archive in collaboration with these companies(For details, see the report on the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka). So I heard that SANYO Electric was working on an archive.


Inazuka Twenty years ago, when we organised an exhibition of product design at the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, we were surprised to find that some of the companies that had contributed to the exhibition were storing the actual products as well as the photographic data.


 It's influenced by the company's awareness. The exhibition "100 Years of Czech Design" is currently on show. The exhibition is the result of a design archive, what is going on in the Czech Republic?


Inazuka At the opening of the exhibition, the director of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, who helped organise the exhibition and exhibit the collection, visited the museum and spoke to us. The museum was founded in 1885, following in the footsteps of the Victoria and Albert Museum in England and the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. The Czech Republic was under the rule of the Habsburgs at the time of the foundation of the museum, and it was for this reason that the museum was set up to collect, document and transmit the skills, crafts and lifestyle of the country. Since then, we have collected everything from furniture and crockery to household appliances such as hoovers and telephones. However, I am not sure if the same thing can be done in Japan. The historical background is different, and while in the Czech Republic you can look out for everything from the individual artist to the manufacturer, in Japan the scale is so large that it is difficult to cover everything.


 The Shuzo Takiguchi Collection, which has had a great influence on the art world here, is also interesting.


Inazuka The exhibition consists of artworks that Shuzo Takiguchi, who as a poet and an art critic defended and supported avant-garde art in the post-war period, kept in his study at home, objects presented to him by artists with whom he had corresponded, and objects gathered during his travels. With the help of the bereaved family, these works, which Takiguchi had kept close to him, were brought to Toyama during the period of the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design. In addition to the museum, the Takiguchi collection includes letters and photographs in the Keio University Art Center, where he studied, and books and other materials in the library of Tama Art University through the connection of Yoshiaki Tono, who was a close friend of Takiguchi. After Takiguchi's death, his wife and other close friends worked with great enthusiasm to prevent his works and materials from being lost, and it is a miracle that they made it to our museum.


 Do you have any hints on how to proceed with the archive in the Takiguchi collection?


Inazuka We will have to think about how to archive for each subject. It depends on the content of the collection, and even for the Takiguchi collection, the process of accepting the items, researching and organising the data for each item, has taken many years and much effort before it can be seen in the current exhibition. It's not just about accepting and organising, it's also about research, conservation and exhibition.


 Many designers say they want their archives to remain in public museums and universities.


Inazuka They may feel that public facilities are more reliable over a 10 or 20 year period. The poster collection of the former Suntory Museum of Art has also been taken over by the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka. However, I think that it is more important to think about how to make use of them in the future, rather than just storing things and information to form an archive.


 In these days of digitalisation, what do you think about collections and archives of "things"?


Inazuka In the exhibition rooms, we often hear from visitors that they have been greatly impacted by seeing posters from the 80s and 90s that they didn't know existed when they came to the museum, or from designers in their 30s who were thrilled to see Mr. Ikko Tanaka's posters for the first time. It is an experience that can only be had with the real thing, something that cannot be done with digital data. This spring, at the exhibition "Visionary ∞ resonance: Mitsuo Katsui" held at the Utsunomiya Museum of Art, a number of gorgeous books for which Mr. Katsui was responsible for the binding were on display, and I was overwhelmed by their presence as printed matter. This is the depth of the work produced by the designer and the printer working in unison. This is something that can be conveyed because of the objects and I thought it was important.


The personality of the museum

 Lastly, I think that it is more and more important for public museums to have their own personality, as the number of visitors is becoming more and more diverse due to the influence of inbound tourism. In your opinion, what do you think makes the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design unique?


Inazuka The museum attracts a large number of local visitors as well as visitors from outside the county, and for a regional museum it is great to see so many local repeat visitors. So, I think that what makes our museum unique is that it offers an environment that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, from children to senior citizens.
The rooftop of the museum has been turned into a playground called "Onomatopoeia Rooftop", which I think is the first of its kind in the country. This is because there was originally a children's playground on this land, built by the prefecture. The decision was made to move the museum there, and I understand that one of the keys to the architectural proposal was how to combine the museum's function with that of a children's place. In the end, Mr. Hiroshi Naito's proposal for a children's playground on the roof was chosen, and at Mr. Naito's suggestion, the graphic designer Mr. Taku Satoh joined the project to create a playground for families to enjoy.
It was a fortunate coincidence for the new museum.


 The success of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa has also encouraged us to be more open to the public.


Inazuka It is true that the success of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazaw has been a positive stimulus. However, Kanazawa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, so it differs from our museum there. In the case of our museum, the rooftop has a great function, not only as a tourist attraction, but also as a place of community. There is a car park on the ground floor and the whole building is barrier-free, so many senior citizens visit the museum. From now on, I think we have to be aware of the contents that make people want to come back to the museum.


 Do you get more visitors to the Van Gogh, Cézanne or Impressionist exhibitions?


Inazuka That's right. I think a lot of people expect museums to be about themes that they feel comfortable with, such as famous artists, but it's also important to meet new people. We are still in the process of exploring this, but we believe that art and design go together and are not separate, so we treat a painting or a poster with the same feeling. I think all the curators here feel the same way. As well as the building, we hope to develop the concept of "art & design" into the personality of the museum.


  I am looking forward to the future of "art & design". Thank you very much.






Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design https://tad-toyama.jp/